4 months ago

The Trinidad & Tobago Business Guide (TTBG, 2009-10)


TRADE AND INVESTMENT TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO: open for business The government’s policy on foreign investment “The Government of Trinidad and Tobago (GOTT) encourages foreign direct investment in almost all sectors. Generally speaking, there are no restrictions or disincentives to investment. The Heritage Foundation Index of Economic Freedom Index for 2007 ranked Trinidad & Tobago fourth in the Americas and 29th worldwide out of 160 countries. Foreign ownership of companies is permitted and welcomed under the Foreign Investment Act (1990) [...] However, the government has said it is no longer interested in ammonia and methanol plants (there are already 11 ammonia plants and seven methanol plants) and will focus instead on other downstream industries.” Investment priorities “With proven success in the energy sector, and a country-wide commitment to growth, sustainability, and business excellence, the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is opening its doors to partnership with select businesses in the [following industries:] • Downstream petrochemicals • Film • Fish and fish processing • Food and beverage • Information and communications technology • Yachting • Printing and packaging • Music and entertainment • Merchant marine Why Trinidad and Tobago? “The momentum has already begun. Our nation boasts the highest foreign direct investment per capita in Latin America and the Caribbean. Our strategic position Table 2 Principal exports and imports, 2007 FOB and CIF values (TT$m) EXPORTS IMPORTS Food and live animals 957.9 2,787.8 Chemicals 13,788.7 3,075.3 Beverages and tobacco 747.6 187.9 Manufactured goods 3,704.9 5,284.5 Crude materials inedible* 1,914.4 2,989.4 Machinery and transport equipment 238.6 9,670.1 Mineral fuels, lubricants &c 45,168.8 12,964.2 Miscellaneous manufactured articles 348.4 2,076.8 Animal/vegetable oils, fats and waxes 12.9 149.3 Commodities and transactions NES 0.8 41.0 * excluding fuels Source: Central Statistical Office; Guide to Investing in Trinidad and Tobago 2008 at the crossroads between the Caribbean, North and South America offers investors and exporters an ideal base from which to penetrate markets throughout the region through direct investment, joint ventures or agency relationships; and offers unique opportunities for those aggressively expanding their markets in the Latin American region. As well, our investor-friendly environment, anchored by a policy of allowing100% ownership of foreign companies, is supported by a programme of investment incentives offered to qualified business partners, and by a Free Zone Act that supports companies set up as regional distributorships. Other benefits to investors and exporters include ease of access to other countries within and outside the region through our well-developed air and sea links, the potential for break-bulk business, and the significant financial and management capability available in Trinidad and Tobago. We welcome you to find out more about joining us in creating the next great economic hotspot in the Western Hemisphere.” Government involvement in the investment process “The GOTT generally only gets involved in foreign investments when the investor is seeking government incentives or concessions such as tax holidays, duty-free import of equipment and materials, or exemption from VAT on inputs. The government also becomes involved when an investor wishes to lease land in one of the governmentowned industrial parks, and when a planned activity requires a licence, such as mining or drilling. Nationals and non-nationals are generally treated equally with respect to obtaining licenses.” Process “Bureaucratic delays in approval of investment packages can be frustrating for investors. These generally are the result of negotiations for memorandums of understanding or framework agreements and incentives or, in the case of petrochemical investors, negotiations for favourable natural gas prices. Environmental approval for large industrial projects can also be timeconsuming, and many projects begin with only outline approval.” Privatisation “In general, Trinidad and Tobago has seen a trend towards privatisation of key sectors since the 1990s. Sectors that have undergone privatisation include electrical power generation and the postal service. Some others have been transformed.” Exports “Exports from Trinidad and Tobago can be divided into four major areas: • Energy-based, including crude oil and refined petroleum products, methanol, urea, anhydrous ammonia, iron and steel products • Traditional agricultural exports, including sugar, cocoa, coffee and citrus • Non-traditional agricultural exports such as processed fish, shrimp, vegetables and fruit, and cut flowers • Manufactured goods of a wide variety, from foodstuffs, alcoholic beverages and non-alcoholic beverages to air- 14 TTBG 09/10

The port of Port of Spain 09/10 TTBG 15

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